Insurance Wahala: Lagos Lawyer Drags AIICO To Court Over Breach Of Contract

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A Lagos-based Lawyer, Chief Abdullahi Tony Dania, has slammed over N12.9million suit on AIICO Insurance Company, over alleged breach of contract.

According to an affidavit sworn to by a Litigation Manager, Abimbola Mayowa, in the office of Chief Dania’s Counsel, the plaintiff entered into an insurance policy contract with AIICO in Year 2007, with a policy No: 12028081.

The plaintiff kept to his side of the contract, and made financial deposits to the Insurance company periodically though he missed some years when he was on admission at Igbobi Orthopedic Hospital, after surviving a fatal motor accident.

As agreed, he ought to have paid the sum of N1,987,343.42 on April 24th, 2022, which was the maturity date, according to the defendant.

He wrote a letter dated 28th March, 2022 upon suspicion of fraudulent acts in their relationship either on the part of the Defendant or her Agents or intermediaries, requesting to be furnished with a full Statement of Account and a proper update on his policy No. 12028081.

The defendant responded to the letter via a letter dated April 11th, 2022 and stated that receipts of payments were wrongly posted to one, Mr. Dania Tony Abdullahi’s mature policy, which caused variation in the assumed calculation of the surrender benefit given on the stated policy, has been collected.

The plaintiff replied the letter via a letter dated 26/04/22, insisting the defendant should furnish him with proof/ evidence of the referred wrongful posting mentioned above, and to further provide full statement of account are proper update of his policy No. 12028081 and any other policy belonging to the plaintiff.

The defendant further responded via a letter dated 2/05/2022 explaining that the receipts of payment referred to as wrongly posted to another policy belonging to Dania Tony Abdullai in their letter of 11/04/22 have now been posted correctly to policy no. 18028081 and further stated that policy no. 18028081 has lapsed and can no longer receive maturity benefit as it does not meet up with the basic requirement for maturity payout.

The plaintiff replied to the letter referenced via a letter dated 9/05/2022 urging the defendant to allow parties to amicably close the transaction on policy number 12028081 and the plaintiff paid off, unfailingly, before the end of May, 2022, failing which, the plaintiff shall instruct his lawyers accordingly. That the policy became due on the 24th day of April, 2022.

However, when the defendant refused, neglected and failed to pay the plaintiff his premium which was calculated to be the sum of N1,987,343.42.,

The plaintiff wrote a complaint letter to the Honourable Commissioner of National Insurance Commission of Nigeria, reporting the refusal of the defendant to pay him his premium.

AIICO General Insurance Plc, was copied with the above mentioned complaint letter and he has since not received any response from the defendant to this regard.

The defendant refused to pay the plaintiff’s due insurance policy entitlement, and thus breached the insurance contract between them, and also refused to respond to his letter.

Chief Dania contended that facts of this case are not contentious, they are very clear, unambiguous and incontrovertible; it is based on a contract executed between the two parties.

Consequently, the action of the Insurance has left the plaintiff with no other options than to resort to the Court to recover his money from the defendant.

He believes the defendant has no defense/ response to this action as the sum demanded is a liquidated sum, therefore the case of the defendant shall not in any way be prejudiced, if the prayers sought herein are granted.

A declaration that it was wrong, improper and amounted to breach of contract for the defendant to have refused to pay the plaintiff the sum of N1,987,343.42 (One Million, Nine Hundred and Eighty Seven Thousand, Three Hundred and Forty Three Naira, Forty Two Kobo, Only), which the defendant was supposed to pay to the plaintiff, upon the maturity of the insurance contract, with policy No: 12028081 executed by both parties herein.

An order directing the defendant to pay the claimant, the sum of N1,987,343.42 being the amount due for, and or standing to credit of the plaintiff from the insurance policy and contract he executed with the defendant.

An order directing the defendant to pay the plaintiff the sum of 10Million-Naira Only, as general and exemplary damages, for the avoidable hardship extreme difficulties, psychological trauma, the claimant suffered as a result of the actions of the defendant.

However, in a counter affidavit filed before the Court by AIICO Insurance Company, it denied almost all the claims of Chief Abdullai Dania.

It stated thus: that the claimant took out a bi-annual endowment insurance policy in 2007 with policy number 12028081.

The policy was for a period of 15 (fifteen years) and mature in April, 2022

By the said policy, the defendant was obliged to pay a premium of N581,571 bi-annually from April 2007 till April 2022, with a sum assured of N10,000,000 (Ten Million Naira Only) at maturity.

Under the policy, the claimant is at liberty to make a 25% partial withdrawal after five years.

The claimant is also at liberty to make a 25% partial withdrawal after ten years and make a full withdrawal of the sum assured N10,000,000 (Ten Million Naira) after fifteen years, plus a 3% reversionary bonus at maturity i.e. fifteen years.

The above benefits are only available to the claimant, if he services the policy as and when due i.e.the claimant must be paying his premium of N581,571 every six months.

The claimant breached the contract between him and the defendant when he decided to pay his premium in bits as opposed to the bi-annual payment in the contract; after the payment of the sum of N85,000 in January, 2008, the claimant refused to service the policy until three years later in 2011 and after the 2011 premium payment, the claimant refused to service the insurance policy.

Sometime in 2008, the claimant requested for the status of his policies with the defendant and by a letter dated July 14, 2008, the defendant responded that the claimant’s policy No. 12028081 was in force.

However, the bi-annual premium was overdue for payment. Thereafter, the claimant refused to service the policy until June 2011.

In 2010, the claimant wrote to the defendant for the withdrawal of his policies.

In 2011, the claimant further approached the defendant to know the state of his policy and the defendant responded via a letter dated 12th May, 2011 that the policy has lapsed and cannot be surrendered.

The defendant advised the claimant to reinstate the policy by paying the outstanding premium of N4,070,997.

The claimant refused to pay the outstanding premium of N4,070,997 above but paid the sum of N353,996, N250,000 and N215,205 which were not sufficient to reinstate the lapsed policy.

The claimant, again, made a request to know the state of his policy and the defendant responded via a letter dated 4th January, 2013 wherein the claimant was informed that his outstanding premium was N5,826,650.51.

The assertion of the claimant that he was involved in a fatal motor accident is an afterthought. The claimant made the assertion for the first time in his affidavit and the defendant was not notified of same.

The claimant is not entitled to any sum at all as he refused to pay the bi-annual premium, as agreed at the inception of the contract.

The claimant did not keep to his side of the contract. The claimant is in arrears of the sum of N15,813,783 in outstanding premiums, as stated in the Endowment Contract.

Defendant explained the circumstances of the wrong posting to the claimant and same had been rectified.

The claimant’s policy with the defendant had lapsed and the claimant is not entitled to any sum under the policy.

The claimant wrote a petition to the National Insurance Commission, NAICOM, against the defendant.

The defendant has responded to the allegations of the claimant contained therein to NAICOM and the claimant is having a copy of the defendant’s response.

The claimant did not wait for the outcome of his petition to NAICOM before approaching this Honourable Court, despite receiving the defendant’s response.

The claimant has not exhausted all domestic fora before approaching this Honourable Court; and there is no material before this Court warranting the grant of the prayers sought by the Claimant.

Therefore, it will be in the interest of justice if this application is refused.

Presiding Judge, Justice Yelin Bogoro has fixed 6th July, 2023 for judgement.

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